CE, Brexit, and Authorised Representatives

Brexit: UK and EU Flags against a blue sky

CE, Brexit and Authorised Representatives

We’re just pass­ing the T-1 year mark on the UK’s jour­ney towards leav­ing the EU. Some of my read­ers are “Leavers”, while oth­ers are “Remain­ers”, but for every­one liv­ing in the UK or doing busi­ness with the UK, there are many ques­tions that remain unclear. To be fair, some of the lack of clar­i­ty is due to the nego­ti­a­tion process that Prime Min­is­ter May’s gov­ern­ment is engaged in, and some of it is the result of the com­plex­i­ty in the EU-UK rela­tion­ship. I hope to add some clar­i­ty to this sit­u­a­tion, at least as far as the impact on third-coun­try man­u­fac­tur­ers and CE Mark­ing is con­cerned.

What is an Authorised Representative?

Whether or not a man­u­fac­tur­er is based in the EU, they may use an Autho­rised Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to car­ry out cer­tain tasks, such as [1, 3.2]:

  • keep­ing the EU dec­la­ra­tion of con­for­mi­ty and the tech­ni­cal doc­u­men­ta­tion at the dis­pos­al of nation­al sur­veil­lance author­i­ties and coop­er­ate with them at their request,
  • pro­vid­ing that Nation­al Author­i­ties with all the infor­ma­tion and doc­u­men­ta­tion nec­es­sary to demon­strate the con­for­mi­ty of a prod­uct,
  • tak­ing actions to elim­i­nate the risks posed by prod­ucts cov­ered by their man­date,
  • affix the CE mark­ing and noti­fied body’s num­ber to the prod­uct,
  • draw up and sign the EU dec­la­ra­tion of con­for­mi­ty.

Man­u­fac­tur­ers locat­ed out­side the EU may be oblig­ed to have an Autho­rised Rep­re­sen­ta­tive by the Direc­tives applic­a­ble to their prod­ucts. Com­mer­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tives such as autho­rised dis­trib­u­tors or agents, should not be con­fused with the “autho­rised rep­re­sen­ta­tive” in the mean­ing of Union har­mon­i­sa­tion leg­is­la­tion.

Hav­ing an Autho­rised Rep­re­sen­ta­tive entails spe­cif­ic con­trac­tu­al oblig­a­tions. The EU Blue Guide [1] can help you to under­stand those oblig­a­tions and the pro­vi­sions that are rel­e­vant to the agree­ment. Since I am not a lawyer, I can’t pro­vide you with spe­cif­ic legal advice on this top­ic but an EU con­tracts lawyer can help you with the nec­es­sary arrange­ments. Many of the orga­ni­za­tions that have been pro­vid­ing these ser­vices for many years have ready-made con­tracts that ful­fil the require­ments and can get you set-up quick­ly.

How will Brexit affect your CE Mark?

Since the UK joined the Euro­pean Eco­nom­ic Com­mu­ni­ty (EEC) on 1-Jan-1973 [2], [3], [4], the rela­tion­ship has become a com­plex one, and dis­en­tan­gling this rela­tion­ship is going to take some time.

On the sur­face, third-coun­try man­u­fac­tur­ers are not required to have an EU-based Autho­rised Rep­re­sen­ta­tive [1], how­ev­er, some CE Mark­ing Direc­tives include explic­it require­ments regard­ing Autho­rised Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, while oth­ers like the Machin­ery Direc­tive, have implic­it require­ments that result in third coun­try man­u­fac­tur­ers need to have an Autho­rised Rep­re­sen­ta­tive based in the EU.

If you have a con­tract with an Autho­rised Rep­re­sen­ta­tive cur­rent­ly based in the UK, your CE Mark will no longer be valid on 1-Apr-2019 unless you make oth­er arrange­ments [5].

How will Brexit affect my Authorised Representative?

Since the UK and North­ern Ire­land will be leav­ing the EU at the end of March, 2019, any orga­ni­za­tion that offers Autho­rised Rep­re­sen­ta­tive ser­vices will no longer be able to meet the require­ment for being based in the EU. Where an indi­vid­ual is act­ing as an Autho­rised Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, they have the option to move from the UK to any oth­er EU Mem­ber State before the UK offi­cial­ly exits the union. Where an orga­ni­za­tion is pro­vid­ing an Autho­rised Rep­re­sen­ta­tive ser­vice, they have the option to move their cor­po­rate head­quar­ters to any oth­er EU Mem­ber mem­ber state. Once they can show that they are based in an EU coun­try, then they can legit­i­mate­ly offer Autho­rised Rep­re­sen­ta­tive ser­vices again.

Need help with CE Mark­ing? I can help! Con­tact me at +1 (519) 650‑4753 or by email.

References

[1]     Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, “Com­mis­sion Notice — The ‘Blue Guide’ on the imple­men­ta­tion of EU prod­ucts rules 2016″, Pub­li­ca­tions Office of the Euro­pean Union, Lux­em­bourg, 2018.

[2]     “When did Britain decide to join the Euro­pean Union? – UK in a chang­ing Europe”, Ukandeu.ac.uk, 2018. [Online]. Avail­able: http://ukandeu.ac.uk/fact-figures/when-did-britain-decide-to-join-the-european-union/. [Accessed: 30- Mar- 2018].

[3]     “BBC News — A time­line of the EU”, News.bbc.co.uk, 2018. [Online]. Avail­able: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3583801.stm. [Accessed: 30- Mar- 2018].

[4]     Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, “Com­mis­sion Notice — The ‘Blue Guide’ on the imple­men­ta­tion of EU prod­ucts rules 2016″, Pub­li­ca­tions Office of the Euro­pean Union, Lux­em­bourg, 2016.

[5]     DIRECTORATE-GENERAL FOR INTERNAL MARKET, INDUSTRY, ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND SMEs, “NOTICE TO STAKEHOLDERSWITHDRAWAL OF THE UNITED KINGDOM AND EU RULES IN THE FIELD OF INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS”, Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, Brus­sels, 2018.

Author: Doug Nix

Doug Nix is Managing Director and Principal Consultant at Compliance InSight Consulting, Inc. (http://www.complianceinsight.ca) in Kitchener, Ontario, and is Lead Author and Senior Editor of the Machinery Safety 101 blog. Doug's work includes teaching machinery risk assessment techniques privately and through Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Kitchener, Ontario, as well as providing technical services and training programs to clients related to risk assessment, industrial machinery safety, safety-related control system integration and reliability, laser safety and regulatory conformity. For more see Doug's LinkedIn profile.